Various - Skint / Fifteen 1995 - 2010

Mention Skint Records to any label geek and one suspects their first thought will be Fatboy Slim, followed perhaps by, Where is he now? However, through acts such as Midfield General and Lo-Fidelity Allstars, the label was associated with the ‘big beat’ scene of the mid to late 90s beyond its figurehead star. Skint continued as the ‘big beat’ tag faded from use and is now celebrating its 15th birthday with the release of Skint/Fifteen 1995 – 2010, which weighs in at three CDs and 45 tracks.

Unsurprisingly, much of this solid collection is given over to the artists already mentioned. The Fatboy alone is represented by six tracks (and not necessarily the most obvious ones). Yet it’s arguably the label’s noughties output which sticks in the mind most, even if the label name seemed to matter less by then.

Thanks to the vocals of Talking Heads' David Byrne, even your dad will be familiar, possibly over familar, with X-Press 2’s number two hit 'Lazy'. FC Kahuna’s 'Hayling' many will have heard in the film Layer Cake and, from its opening bleeps to the central refrain of "Don't think about all those things you fear...", it's hard to think of a noughties chill out tune which quite pushes the same pleasure buttons. Thomas Anderson’s 'Washing Up' (Tiga remix) is gratingly catchy and, while not a radio hit, must have been included on every second dance mix a few years back. Perhaps less well known is Tiga’s cover of Nelly’s 'Hot In Herre', yet it’s the best thing Scissor Sister's Jake Shears, subverting the original with his deadpan camp vocal, has put his name to.

The biggest surprise is the number of non-dance tracks and just how distant some of these are from Skint’s core sound. Hookers On Pop Street’s 'Not Listening' could be the daftest punk since 'Jilted John'. Lucky Jim has two inclusions, the Dylan-esque 'You’re Lovely To Me' (as used in a certain bread advertisment) and the fruity 'The Honeymooners', styled on Serge Gainsbourg. Throw in two gypsy flavoured tracks by Ralfe Band and what more evidence do you need of a resilient, eclectic label?

Overall

7

out of 10

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